Expanded gambling could be key play for Vikings stadium

Financing plans for a proposed Vikings stadium are having as much success as the stumbling team these days. An extra sales tax in Ramsey County was roundly booed; Minneapolis has a cap of $10 million on the amount that can be used for stadium building. A state-run casino needs a state Constitution change. And no one in power wants to ask the team to build it themselves.

So some legislators are thinking expanded charitable gambling may be the right call.

Don Davis of the Fargo Forum notes that Rep. Morrie Lanning, R-Moorhead, “said it appears gambling will be part of any funding solution as the Vikings want to build a $1.1 billion facility in northern Ramsey County.”

There’s support for gambling expansion, the story says, from:

  • Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, who said everyone would benefit from his idea to allow businesses like bars and restaurants to sell lottery tickets via electronic devices that resemble slot machines.
  • King Wilson, who leads a coalition of the state’s charities that benefit from pulltabs and bingo, said the same thing about his proposal to allow those games to go electronic.
  • Sen. Katie Sieben DFL-Cottage Grove, likes the idea of expanded charitable gaming through e-pulltabs because that has the most support from service organizations in her district.

These plans assume that electronic gambling expansion would draw new, younger people into the gambling milieu. 

Gov. Mark Dayton thinks electronic pulltabs will get the most support from legislators, the story said, which is important because supporters will need some DFL support of expanded gambling to make up for those Republicans who balk at the idea of more gambling on moral grounds.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Spencer Jones on 12/12/2011 - 01:08 pm.

    Why is always a problem to open State Run Casinos? Why can’t the state by a piece of property and build a fancy casino like the Indians have. Use the money for running the venue,Schools,Sports, and lowering hunting and fishing licences. I do not understand why Indians should be the only ones with casinos? They are no better than any other Minnesotan are they? Think of the construction jobs, staff positions, new housing by the casinos for the staffs. Put video poker and tabs in very bar that can afford to run them. If adults want to play the games, they have every right under the sun to play them. Why should only one segment of Minnesota persons get revenue from gambling or gaming while others don’t? Are we not all Americans, and under such equal? We have lotto’s and scratch tickets, but imagine the revenues of a full blown Atlantic City style casino, state run, on a beautiful large lakes stratgicly placed throughout MN? Lodging, fishing, family activities, ice activities, and corperate reteats for new industry to learn of our great state. I know it can work, so do the folks in StP? So why the hold up? Make it happen. Stop all the PC junk and make it happen. We are all equal, one state, under your/our god, indivisble. Lets build our lakes into destinations that everyone from Donald Trump to Warren Buffet would want to invest. Instead of paying ignorant sums to have some tell us what we already know.

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/12/2011 - 04:32 pm.

    “Why can’t the state by a piece of property and build a fancy casino like the Indians have.”

    Because Skippy Humphrey signed a compact with the Indians that gives them exclusive rights to run casino gambling operations in this state. Forever.

    In return the democrats get unlimited campaign contributions from the tribes for their re-election.

    Now you know … the rest of the story.

  3. Submitted by Fritz Dahmus on 12/13/2011 - 10:20 am.

    To follow up on Dennis Tester’s post…..if you want to bi-laterally break a contract (which is the only legal way to do it)….offer the other party something!

    In other words, to let others in on the gambling industry…offer the “Indians” something in return. If they turn it down…well that’s business! It’s called abiding by the words of a signed contract (compact).

    We get upset when pension promises, union contracts, etc.. are strong-armed away from us…why shouldn’t the “Indians” and the Dems hold firm as well?

    Pick the side of principle not personal gain.

  4. Submitted by Jim Arlt on 12/13/2011 - 11:00 am.

    There is not any specific language in any of the eleven compacts that state that the any of the tribes will have casino gambling and that they will have it exclusively. The compacts allow them to have slot machines and other gambling devices and another compact allows them to conduct blackjack.
    It would be correct to state that the legislature has allowed the tribal casino to conduct these forms of gambling exclusively because there has not been a change in Minnesota Statutes and/or the Minnesota Constitution to allow any businesses or the State to conduct these forms of gambling. But again…. there is not any specific language that any of the tribal entities would have casino gambling exclusively as part of the Compacts that the State signed with the Tribes.

  5. Submitted by Andy Chuck on 12/13/2011 - 11:39 am.

    Whatever deal that was entered into with the Native Americans years ago needs to be reformed, immediately. It is a complete travesty that they have an exclusive monopoly on gambling in this state. We all know the elephant in the room, which is that they have rich and powerful lobbyists that make sure that things are kept the way they are. I understand and am sympathetic to what their culture and race have been through in the past. But they need to “throw us a bone”. They will still enjoy several advantages with thier casinos, including games they can have, payout structures, etc. We just would like a little slice of that pie for our schools, roads, infrastructure, and yes, a stadium. All the options presented at the hearing last week were very feasible. The Block E people made a strong case, and Racino, Electronic pulltabs, and video lottery all were ideas at least worth considering. We can put that money towards education, which we took from last session, and a small amount of it to pay for the stadium and not further burden the taxpayers. And I highly doubt we will see a massive spike in problem gamblers just by putting some more options into where it already exists.

    I do applaud the White Earth tribe for offering to build a twin cities-area casino and have half of the profits go to the state. I thought that was a very impressive offer, and they certainly stood out amongst the tribes, a majority of which are vehemently opposed to any expansion of gambling. They say it will cost them jobs, but I believe it’s more the fact that their top people would have to take a slight paycut.

  6. Submitted by Ron Rosenbaum on 12/13/2011 - 12:29 pm.

    To be clear, there is no Constitutional impediment to a state-run casino. Minnesota’s Constitutional prohibition is quite narrow– prohibiting only lotteries not run through the state Lottery. So long as slots are considered to be lotteries and so long as they are run by the state Lottery, they are legal. In fact, that’s exactly the Racino proposal bill the legislature will consider this session.

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